Have you ever been out on a river, in a canoe? Have you ever paddled along, bobbing along with the current, the only sounds you hear the water around you and leaves rustling on the shore?
For many people in today’s urban areas, this is just something they see on TV – they have never had the chance to go out into nature, let alone on a river.
Here in Atlanta, we are blessed to have the Chattahoochee River so close that such a trip is only a few minutes away.
Tom Howick, CNC’s director of education, said the river is an amazing gateway to nature.
“It’s a wonderful resource in our back yard,” Howick said. “You can see great animals, like beavers, ospreys and great blue herons. It’s a nice, peaceful place to be and relax and enjoy nature.”
But even with the river so close, many children or adults with disabilities sometimes simply cannot make the trek.
It was with this in mind that the Chattahoochee Nature Center invited Wilderness Inquiry’s Canoemobile over. Canoemobile connects people of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities to introductory experiences in the outdoors within their communities. Events incorporate water- and land-based activities that focus on natural and cultural history, team-building, and water safety. This Minnesota-based group travels the country introducing children and the needy to nature.
In CNC’s case, this is done through – you guessed it – going on the river.
From now until Nov. 14, CNC hosts several school groups of all ages from throughout the metro region, many of whom have never been in a canoe before.
“We try to get people who don’t have much access to waterways in our areas,” said Cory Dack, Outdoor Leader and Canoemobile Primary Leader. “We act as that connection – bridges between the typical urban city dwellers and nature.”
She said children from inner-city schools need access to nature more than anyone, for their own mental, spiritual and physical wellbeing.
“Being out in nature impacts your overall health,” she said.
The canoes used in Canoemobile are 24-foot-long “Voyageur” canoes, capable of fitting a dozen kids at once, all paddling together. This makes fielding classes of children possible and fun.
And CNC, located right on the Chattahoochee River, is a prime location to launch, with many of the area’s schools already familiar with CNC and its programming.
Canoemobile fits in perfectly with CNC and its mission of connecting people with nature. For more about Wilderness Inquiry and its Canoemobile program, visit www.wildernessinquiry.org. For more about the Chattahoochee Nature Center, visit www.chattnaturecenter.org.
The Mission of the Chattahoochee Nature Center is to connect people with nature. Learn more at www.chattnaturecenter.org.